Unification News for May 1997

Salvation by the Family Together

We all have heard of salvation by faith alone. From the viewpoint of marriage and family, we should change the punctuation to "salvation by faith, alone." The man who sparked world-changing events by that slogan, Fr. Luther, awoke to it during his "tower experience" in which he was alone. He connected his heart to Jesus, who died alone. The monks in the Egyptian desert fought Satan alone. Martin Luther himself was a monk.

The Greek word, "monos" means alone, single. From that root we derive words such as monologue: one speaker; monolithic: one solid mass; monopoly: one seller; monotheism: one God, and monotony: the boredom of being alone.

Consider the words: monastery, monastic, monk. Those define an environment which is at the root of the Christian presence in the world. We fight Satan alone, and meet God alone, like Moses on the mountain, and we find in the moment of our rebirth that we are not alone! Before I loved or knew Him, He fully knew and loved me.

But this solitary path was the way it had to be, because the purpose of history was to recreate one man, one solitary Adam, the Messiah. Thus, all religions are created through single men: Abraham, Confucius, Buddha, Zoroaster, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed (PBUH). Yes, Mohammed was married, but he alone is the Prophet of the final religion: "There is only one God and Mohammed is His prophet."

What is the purpose or goal of that one man, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, Christ? Were those single men totally fulfilled by starting world religions? In truth, one man seeks something even more important than a world religion: a relationship of true love with one woman. God created one man, Adam, and then declared that it was not good for that man to be alone. Then He created the woman, and He said that the image of God is male and female.

So we should think about one more "mono" word: monogamy: one spouse. This takes us to the stage beyond "salvation by faith, alone." That next stage is: salvation by the family together. The establishment of salvation by the family together is the great accomplishment of the Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon. Every viable culture has been based on the family, so in a sense this is nothing new. What is new is to take marriage and family beyond the realm of sex and power (the curse of the Fall) to the realm of complete and absolute good, blessed by God. Reverend Moon set the conditions by which God can be completely present on the Earth in the family. We are created to meet God in our parents, in our spouse, in our children. Hence we can be transmitters of God's true love to each other within the family.

This means that when a husband and wife come together to create a child, they are indeed the instruments of God; they are the image and body of God. When the child sees his parents, in fact he sees God. And in our brothers and sisters we meet God; we know this from 2,000 years of Christianity. And in our children, we meet God. Every parent knows this. How many times have you arrived home burned out, washed out, drained and depleted, only to be resurrected by your children's love? They don't know they are saving you; they are just being what God created them to be: instruments of His love. Salvation is no longer by faith alone; it is by the family together.

Streets of New York

What can unite the streets of New York? Walking down Fifth Avenue, we see wealthy entrepreneurs. We see unemployable youth. We see first century pharisees and seventh century Muslims. We see Asian boys and girls dressed like rap stars, embracing and kissing. What can unite us? Christianity cannot do so. This multi-cultural society would have pushed Christianity to the sidelines had not Christianity relegated itself there of its own accord. You see, Christianity, though completely focused on the problem and salvation of the individual, was never able to resolve the inner contradiction of the individual, between mind and body. This expanded to the conflict between faith and science, church and state, flesh and spirit; reason and revelation; secular and sacred; Christ and culture. All the religions have the same problem: the conflict of fundamentalism and modernism plagues Judaism and Islam.

Christianity has done the world a great service by creating the American democracy and the ideal of "classical liberalism." This is, at best, a level playing field upon which the world's peoples can meet. Christianity did this by proclaiming for twenty centuries that we all are equal as individuals before God, and therefore we are equal before man. But today, the instruments which have leveled the playing field are grinding us all into the dust. For what is the individual by himself? Dust. A meaningless insect. According to existential philosophy, we as individuals create ourselves and our world, but it all leads to nothing but despair. Existentialist philosophy originated in Kierkegaard (a Lutheran), whose primary category was: the Individual.

In the world of the individual, relationships between individuals are negotiable. In other words, they are up for grabs. The absolute definition of the family and society is unresolved. But when the family and society are undefined, so too, finally, is the status of the individual.

Greek philosophy is one precursor of this worldview: the fundamental reality, so said the Greeks, is the atom, the "thing," the individual. The relationships between these "atoms" is secondary. Therefore, my being a man is absolute; my relationship to another individual, my wife, is secondary. Hence divorce is a possibility; it does not affect my fundamental being in the world.

Unificationism is saying that the relationships are primary, and the thing as an individual entity is secondary. For example, what is my identity? I am a man; let's begin with that. But what Reverend Moon is saying is that I cannot be a man outside of a relationship with a woman! How might we comprehend that? Well, at a dinner with a large group of scholars last night, he put it this way: the term "up" presupposes "down." In other words, if you say something is "up," you are saying it is above something else which is "down." So "down" automatically comes into existence. Similarly, "right" presupposes "left," and "front" presupposes "back." Therefore, "up" cannot exist without "down," nor right without left or front without back. In the same way, he said, man presupposes woman.

Another illustration: draw a "C." Is "C" concave or convex? Well, it depends upon your perspective. If you look at it from its right, it is convex; it is protruding. If you look at it from its left, it is convex; it is sunken.


from the left -- -- -- -- --> C < -- -- -- -- from the right



And of course, the existence of the left side presupposes the existence of the right side; when one comes into being, the other automatically comes into being. Reverend Moon asked the professors, what defines a man as a man, a woman as a woman? They offered no answers, and he told them, the sex organs. Now let's look at the diagram again, with two terms added:


woman (concave) C man (convex)



Do you "get the picture"? The point is not to reduce man and woman to their sex organs, but to make the extremely important observation that man and woman exist together or not at all; that man needs woman, and woman needs man; that we were created for each other, and that we are constituent parts of a greater whole, i.e. a greater unitary reality. Through marriage, we participate in the greater unitary reality; we participate in God.


The "up-down, left-right, front-back" illustration tells us something very simple: we live in a three-dimensional world. The world of three dimensions is one space, one world, composed of these dimensions, these partner directions. What is the "space" in which man and woman exist? That space is "love." Because physical space exists, up-down, right-left and front-back exist. Analogously, because love exists, man-woman exist. (Note: the atmosphere, or "space" in the spirit world, we are told, is love. When you have love, you can "travel" everywhere; i.e. move through "space.")

To create the world from nothing else than the individual is like creating space out of nothing else than "up." This will lead to social problems. Namely, all the "downs" will protest that the world is structured around "up." They will try to bring "up" down, and try to make themselves into "up." (Is that what is called being "uppity"?)

Because we think in terms of the individual, we begin to compare some individuals with others, or classes of individuals with other classes. For example, many cultures seem to believe that men are better than women. The ancient Romans apparently did; they had no qualms about destroying girl babies. We hear the contemporary Chinese, compelled by the state to limit families to one child, prefer boys to the extent that they destroy the girls. In the West, this surfaces, doesn't it, in the form of radical feminism, a movement expressing the desire of women to become men. (I wonder if it would not be more correctly called "masculinism," if, as the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Feminism, on the other hand, seems more accurately to describe what is happening to a lot of us men.)

Ups and Downs

But if we recognize that relationship is the primary category, we come to a completely different way of looking at the world. For example, the relationship between up and down may be described as distance, or space. The higher the "up" and lower the "down," the more space there is, and the more identity there is to the up and down. I would not use the terms, up and down, to describe the relationship of two books on the same shelf, even if one happens to be set on a piece of paper which is .01 inch thick. But I would say, "please get me the book up there," if the book is on the top shelf, and "down there" if the book is on the bottom shelf. That is, if there is a relatively small distance, we don't even use the terms, up and down.

Up and down take on more meaning in terms of beauty. Among the most beautiful scenes are those of the Matterhorn set amid the surrounding alpine valleys. Why is it so beautiful? because the peak is so "up." I've never seen a photo just of the top ten feet of the Matterhorn. Why? because the "up" would be missing because all the "down" is missing. The Matterhorn is beautiful because you can get the photos which include the up and down in one view. It's the same thing with Chinese paintings: the high mountains and little people down at the river in the valley. When they are in one view, you can see their relationship. It's the relationship which is beautiful; it is the space created by the high "up-ness" and the low "down."

So, is one of the two "better" than the other? Is "up" better than "down"? Well, it is true that what gets the publicity is the "up" side, the statistics record the up, how high Matterhorn is. And what climbers from around the world do is try to climb to the top. But this is a very limited sort of superiority had by that peak. After all, no one on earth would dream of living there. If it's so great, how come nobody wants to stay there? We all want to live in the valley, in the "down" side, sleeping on down pillows.

This is one reason Renaissance art is considered beautiful, and medieval art not. Medieval art had no "front and back." The Renaissance artists discovered perspective; they could create the illusion of front and back, of nearness and distance, of space. Voila! It is beautiful. Beauty is perceived when we see the two parts of the polarity being the most distinct from each other and at the same time forming a unified body. This is a natural event: the higher the mountain, the lower the adjacent valley is automatically: but the point is that the mountain and valley be in the same picture, i.e., the same space.

Christ and Sinners, Men and Women

I was on a plane once, on a long flight and there was a group of friends getting a little tipsy. Well, extremely tipsy. One woman was more or less dancing in the aisles, and she was declaring, "I am from France, where the men are men and the women love it." As bawdy as that is, it leads to my concluding point.

The more different men and women are from each other, the more clear is their identity as individuals and the more beautiful is the love which they create. By "different from each other," I mean the more masculine is the man, and more feminine the woman, but they have to be in the same picture, the same space. The space, as I put it above, is love. That means, they have to be in love. The more distinct they are, maintaining love, the more powerful and beautiful is the relationship. Let us apply this insight to our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Jesus died on the cross for our sins. This act is the greatest act of love in history, because through it, all human beings can enter into a relationship of love with Jesus. That is, he made himself available to everyone, no matter how great a sinner we might be (i.e., no matter how different from Jesus we might be and how closed off to love). Jesus said that the man who owes $10,000 will be far more grateful for forgiveness of the debt than the man who owes $10. Similarly, he said, the prostitute whose sins are forgiven will be far more grateful than the Pharisee. Why? Because there is a greater distance between the good character of Christ and the evil character of the repentant sinner. There is more distance between the creditor and the debtor who owes $10,000 than between the creditor and the debtor who owes $10. The more wicked the sinner whom Christ loves despite their sin, the greater is proven to be Christ's love, because it is covering a greater distance; it is creating one space which can include greater distance.

The case of man and woman is different: we are not dealing with love for us as a universe of individuals who are different by virtue of their sin, but with my love for one person who is different from me by virtue of her representing the "other half of God." This, when it is achieved in perfection, is a greater love than that of Christ for the sinner. Why? because Christ and the sinner are, finally, like each other. Once we are reborn and have our sin completely removed, "we shall be like him." Being male or female is irrelevant here (Gal 4). Therefore, Christ's love for the sinner is spectacular only as long as we remain sinners!

On the other hand, man and woman are eternally distinct beings. Therefore, marriage is eternal and love is eternal. Further, that which makes us different from each other is good; it is not evil, as in the case of Christ and the sinner. Husband-wife love is part of the natural order of creation; Christ's love for the sinner is a result of the fall.

Now, this side of el Dorado, we need to be Christ-like to create a great marriage, and marriage, conversely, can be a means by which God teaches us to become Christ-like. But this is because of the hardness of our hearts, as Jesus said, and from the beginning, it was not so (Mt 19).

This turns out to be a preamble to what I wanted to talk about, salvation through the family. All I can say on this last line is: now is the era of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, beyond the category of the individual, to the category of marriage and family. The gateway is the Blessing of marriage.

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